Oli lambasts PM over planned Buddhist college in MustangThe UML chair accuses Prime Minister Dahal of betraying China by accepting India’s proposal and for supposedly trying to make the country a playground of foreign powers.
Former prime minister and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli criticised Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and India while he came to the defence of another neighbour, China, on Saturday.
“In order to turn the country into a playground for foreigners, the government is allowing India to open a Buddhist college in Mustang,” Oli said. “This plan is an attack on the country’s sovereignty.”
Oli accused Dahal of betraying China by accepting India’s proposal to open a Buddhist college in the Himalayan region and for supposedly trying to make the country a playground of foreign powers.
According to a news report in Kantipur, the Post’s sister publication, the government is preparing to allow India to set up a Buddhist college in the restricted area of Mustang, which borders Tibet, China. At the request of the Barha Gaun Mukti Chettra Rural Municipality, the government of India is spending over Rs700 million to set up the Buddhist college in what is the restricted territory of Upper Mustang.
But government officials said the proposal was forwarded to the government of India at the request of the local Barha Gaun Mukti Chettra Rural Municipality, and yet no final decision has been taken.
The Mustang Sakya Buddha Sangh took the initiative to open the college, arranged land for it and then requested the Indian side via the government of Nepal.
Oli’s salvo against Dahal comes at a time when the latter has ditched his alliance with the UML and decided to support the Nepali Congress candidate—Ram Chandra Paudel—in the presidential election scheduled for March 9. Oli also sees foreign hands behind Dahal’s ditching of the alliance with the UML.
As per the December 25 agreement between Oli and Dahal, the post of President should have been given to the UML. But Dahal changed his stance after the Congress gave his government a vote of trust on January 10.
With this new political development, say Dahal and his CPN (Maoist Centre) party, the political landscape has vastly changed, making it necessary to choose the new President in consensus.
On February 25, Dahal formally severed his ties with the UML and joined hands with the Congress and six other parties in support of Paudel’s presidential bid.
Oli has already pulled his party out of the Dahal Cabinet and withdrawn support to the government.
Free of the association, Oli is now busy attacking Dahal and India while trying to defend China. He has also blamed foreign powers for the breakdown of the UML-Maoist alliance and formation of the new Congress-Maoist bloc.
Oli sees the establishment of a Buddhist college in the restricted areas of Mustang district as a “betrayal” against China.
“Establishing a Buddhist college in Mustang to placate foreigners is an assault to our nationality and betrayal of China, which is our friendly nation,” Oli said while taking a dig at Prime Minister Dahal while addressing a function of one of his party’s sister wings.
Former prime minister Oli said the plan to set up the Buddhist college in Mustang is a reminder of the Khampa (Tibetan militant) rebellion in the district in the early 1970s. After some Tibetan militants waged a military action against China from the Nepali soil, the Nepal government had in 1974 peacefully disarmed the Khampas and settled them in various parts of the country.
“Now it seems some are trying to repeat the incident,” said Oli. “This is tantamount to the rejection of the country’s sovereignty and independence.”
Oli said he was suspicious of the college in Upper Mustang: “Why do you need a Buddhist college in a place where no one lives?”
Oli also accused Prime Minister Dahal of trying to convert the country into a playground of foreigners and that these foreigners could also have their eyes on the uranium available in Mustang. The proven reservoir of uranium in Mustang is yet to be properly studied and extracted.
“Gey Wangdi was the Khampa leader at that time [of the Khampa uprising]. The Khampas were stationed near Marfa village. Now efforts are on to set up a Buddhist college in Lo Manthang, which is part of Upper Mustang where no one lives,” Oli said. “Only a handful of people with vested interests live there. This is a dangerous plan that we should oppose and confront.”
Oli also came down heavily against the government decision not to test vegetables imported from India for chemical residues. A proposal to this effect that was tabled in the Cabinet was later withdrawn. Only last week, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock said that a new proposal was being tabled in the Cabinet.
“Yes, we may not have adequate mechanisms to check all imported vegetables but whatever mechanism we do have, we can use it to test for the level of pesticides,” he said. “Making foreign forces happy but killing your own people by allowing them to consume pesticide-leaden vegetables is unacceptable.”